Picture Courtesy: Tom Bramble & Daniel Neser
The Federal Budget recently proposed changes to university fees, which will result in university students paying higher fees and receiving a lower threshold for their HECS debts, meaning they will have to pay these debts off sooner.
Protests happened around the country today in opposition to these changes. Many saying it’s going to make it harder for young people to afford to get a higher education, and make their financial burden bigger.
In Perth, the protest happened in the Murray Street Mall, with students rallying together from Murdoch, ECU, Curtin and UWA. The Make Education Free Again Facebook Group, who organised the protest in Perth, called the budget’s announcement “a nightmare budget.”
Calling for the people of Perth to say no.
Their event page says, “we will take a stand. We can’t let the Liberals think they can walk all over us. These cuts can be defeated, we have to hit the streets.”
Other protests happened in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane. The Brisbane protest received a lot of media attention because it happened outside a luncheon the Prime Minister was attending today.
Vice-chancellors have already condemned this fee hike as a “double-whammy” for higher education, as it’s at the same time as recent funding cuts.
A few weeks ago it was announced that the new Federal Budget would be cutting $2.8billion in funding to higher education, and now with this price-hike and lower repayment threshold, higher education may no longer be accessible to a lot of future students.
During a recent appearance on Q&A, protesters confronted Education Minister Simon Birmingham on live TV, letting Canberra know just how students feel about these changes.
Labor and the Greens have already indicated their opposition to this change, which leaves the government needing 10 of the 12 Senate crossbenchers to get this through parliament.